I was homeless at 13,
locked up at 14, suicidal at 15. Today I'm living my dream life.

My writing is 100% real. It takes you by the hand and pulls you into my actual teen life: the good, the bad and the psychotic. I write for kids like me, who feel alone, or broken, or hopeless. I hope they’ll finally find, in my books, that friend who actually gets it.

My young adult memoirs about my f*cked up teen years


They tried to break me.

This is the TRUE STORY of how I survived.


A True story.

How far would you go to fit in?

What folks are saying

“Reading DEAD INSIDE is like watching a great horror flick.
You really want to cover your eyes, but you just can’t!
Compelling. Scary. Totally real.”

 – Ellen Hopkins, New York Times bestselling author of CRANK

“[Etler’s] prose dazzles with infectious verve. A powerful story of a survivor whose irrepressible personality shines throughout even her darkest moments.”

 – Kirkus Reviews

“[An] unnerving and heartrending memoir.”

 – Publisher’s Weekly

“Readers will come to respect the fighter that Etler is and the advocate she became for other teens in similar situations.”

 – Booklist

“Verdict: a can’t-miss memoir.”

 – School Library Journal

An In the Margins Book Award Winner

A School Library Guild Popular Pick

A Junior Library Guild Selection

Get Cyndy’s tips on teens and mental health, plus chapter 1 of her YA novel SEND RUDES!

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